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Commercial And Industrial Waste

What Is Commercial And Industrial Waste?

This is a diverse waste stream, generated from commercial and industrial operations, including, but not limited to processing and manufacturing industries, service sector, and the trade and transport and distribution sectors, primary production and mining (Waste 2020, 2001).

Waste Volumes And Contribution

Approximately 450,000 tonnes of commercial and industrial waste was disposed of to metropolitan Perth during the 1999 (Waste 2020, 2001), however the total quantity of waste generated is likely to be significantly higher as wastes streams such as glass, cardboard, metal and plastic are usually recycled. This accounts for just over 16% of the total waste streams, but much of this waste could be directed away from landfill to reuse, recycling or other forms of recovery.

Commercial and industrial waste is composed of many of the wastes that are part of the other waste streams, including organics (green and food), inert and contaminated materials, (including soils), glass, metals, plastics and tyres. A significant difficulty with accounting for this waste stream is that over 70% of the waste sent to landfill was classified as mixed waste due to the unknown nature of its composition, making the establishment of effective management and minimisation procedures more difficult.

Waste Reduction

Waste reduction in industry needs the implementation of Cleaner Production programs in order to Reduce, Re-use and Recycle. Many businesses are not aware of the concept of Cleaner Production or reduce, reuse and recycle options. Waste 2020 (2001) recommended establishing waste stream specific programs, targeting food waste, plastics and glass. Significant potential exists for the reduction of the amount of waste through recovery programs such as composting or anaerobic digestion in the food waste stream. Improvements in the implementation of source separation are required to reduce the quantities of plastic and glass waste disposed of to landfill as these materials are generally mixed and difficult to recycle.

Recycling programs are generally well established for most metals with estimates of over 90% being recycled or reused. Paper recycling occurs throughout industry, though not to the same extent as for metals.

Hazardous Wastes And Industry

C&I activities are also major generators of liquid and gaseous waste products, some of which may be hazardous. The range of management options for hazardous wastes include on site treatment or reuse, offsite treatment in specifically designed and built facilities, offsite treatment at landfill, discharged through the sewerage system under permit, or reused by other industries through a Waste Exchange System such as the Industrial Waste Exchange Network.

Wastes such as asbestos, tyres and biomedical wastes are guided by specific controls, such as those determined by the Basel Convention ( and the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC).


  1. Towards Zero Waste: Actions for the Commercial and Industrial Sector, 2001, Waste 2020 Task Force.
  2. Basel Convention

Other Links

Food Service Waste Reduction Tips and Ideas - California Integrated Waste Management Board